Keeping It Simple: How to Play the Same Riffs in Different Places

author: Rockin_Louie date: 05/07/2014 category: guitar techniques
rating: 5.8 / votes: 12 
Keeping It Simple: How to Play the Same Riffs in Different Places
Ultimate Guitar is a great place to find tabs for pretty much any song you want to learn. Some people use tabbing software, others actually plunk out each note as the tab. While there are no right ways, or wrong ways, to play a tune on the guitar, there are "easier" ways that everyone, especially beginners, should consider.

I recently commented on a tab for "I Love Rock & Roll" from Joan Jett. The person who made a correction showed this for a tab:
e|-------------------
B|--17-15p-12--------
G|------------14-12--
D|-------------------
A|-------------------
E|-------------------
While there is nothing wrong with this, I like to teach my student a bit of math when it comes to finding notes on the guitar. Basically, you can take your current note, in this case, the B-17, subtract 5 from it, and that is the fret you will be playing on the high E; e-12. Since they are both E notes, they are both correct, just this way is easier to play:
e|--12---------------
B|-----15p-12--------
G|------------14-12--
D|-------------------
A|-------------------
E|-------------------
If you think about it, the tab above falls within the E minor pentatonic:
e|--15-12--------------------------------
B|--------15-12--------------------------
G|--------------14-12--------------------
D|--------------------14-12--------------
A|--------------------------14-12--------
E|--------------------------------15-12--
...so it only makes sense to keep it simple and play it within the pentatonic.

Another correction I made was with "Gotta Get Away" from The Offspring. The intro is this:
e|--------------------------------------|
B|-------8-8-7--5~----------8-8-10-5~---|
G|--7-7--7-7-7--4~-----7-7--7-7--7-4~---| x2
D|--------------------------------------|
A|--------------------------------------|
E|--------------------------------------|
PM . . . .
While this is one way to play it, I'm sure no one wants to slide all the way from the 7th fret to the 4th... especially with that pinky stretch on the 10th fret on the B. Below is a way of keeping your entire hand in on spot and play the same notes:
e|--------------------------------------|
B|-------8-8-7--------------8-8-10------|
G|--7-7--7-7-7--9~-----7-7--7-7--7-9~---| x2
D|--------------9~-----------------9~---|
A|--------------------------------------|
E|--------------------------------------|
PM . . . .
When finding tabs anywhere, if you find one that makes you stretch abnormally, or slide around the neck of the guitar, see if there isn't a better way to play the same thing and "keep it simple."
More Rockin_Louie lessons:
+ What Is Behind the 1-4-5 Rule? Guitar Techniques 04/02/2014
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